[MR] History Blog: Tiny Knife Found in Scotland

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 2 03:58:09 PST 2020

Noble Friends, Especially Fellow Scots,

Today the History Blog has a story about a very small knife discovered by a
metal detectorist in Scotland. With just a 3-inch blade, the knife is being
described as a "skene dub", through rather than grips of black "bog oak",
it is topped by a metal fleur-de-lis. The finder reported the knife as
treasure but "experts" said it was modern. He then spent his own money on a
professional analysis, and the knife was determined to date to the 12th or
13th century.

Here is the story" http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/60147 .

Now, as for the "skene dub" angle, nearly all books on Scottish arms that I
have read describe a "skene dub" (literally, "black knife") as having a
wooden grip. The general consensus is that these were invented in the 18th
century as feast daggers for kilted troops in English service. Some were
even made as sets that included a fork and spoon. These evolved into the
decorative "stocking knife" that we Scots and the rest of the world knows
and loves, though today they often have a fancy-dancy stag antler grip
topped by a semi-precious stone.

I have always believed that Scots could, and probably did, carry extra
knives hidden in their cloaks or plaids. This new find could have been just
that sort of "weapon of last resort", though it seems a bit small and
decorative. It will be interesting to see if this knife changes any
viewpoints on Scottish weaponry.

Those of you who have seen Lord Mungo in full kit will have probably
noticed that I carry a small dagger tucked into one of my mogens. I've
never been quite sure this was truly period, but it is an iconic feature of
Scottish dress that most people expect to see. And who am I to disappoint
anybody? 😃

Yours Aye,

Lord Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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